IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

NGT directs complete ban on sale, use of firecrackers

2nd December, 2020 Economy

Context: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed a complete ban on the sale and use of firecrackers during the COVID-19 pandemic in the National Capital Region (NCR) and all cities and towns where the ambient air quality is in the poor or above categories.

  • A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also directed that only green crackers will be permitted for Christmas and New Year – between 11:55 pm and 12:30 am – in areas where the ambient air quality is in the moderate or below categories.
  • All district magistrates have been directed to ensure that firecrackers are not sold and that compensation from violators are recovered.
  • The green panel also specified that with a view to ensure availability of air quality data, at least one air quality monitoring station is required to be set up at every district headquarter.

Rights to business vs. Right to Health:

  • Right to business is not absolute. There is no right to violate air quality and noise level norms.

This being crime under the law of the land cannot be a right.

  • Nobody has the right to carry on business at the cost of health of others.
  • All licenses already given or which may be given are inherently subject to overriding requirement of preventing damage to the environment and the public health.”

About NGT:

·        The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 is an Act of the Parliament of India which enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues.

·        It draws inspiration from the India's constitutional provision of (Constitution of India/Part III) Article 21 Protection of life and personal liberty, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment. Powers

·        Power: The NGT has the power to hear all civil cases relating to environmental issues and questions that are linked to the implementation of laws listed in Schedule I of the NGT Act. These include the following:

·        The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974;

·        The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977;

·        The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980;

·        The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981;

·        The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986;

·        The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991;

·        The Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

·        Importantly, the NGT has not been vested with powers to hear any matter relating to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and various laws enacted by States relating to forests, tree preservation etc. Therefore, specific and substantial issues related to these laws cannot be raised before the NGT.

·        Principles of Justice adopted by NGT: The NGT is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice. Further, NGT is also not bound by the rules of evidence as enshrined in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

·        The Chairperson of the NGT is a retired Judge of the Supreme Court, Head Quartered in Delhi. Other Judicial members are retired Judges of High Courts. Each bench of the NGT will comprise of at least one Judicial Member and one Expert Member.